Five Big Things

Traditional procurement models are changing and smarter procurement must include decisions on smarter payment – here are five things to note from the debate at the CIC conference.

5th October 2016

1.Procurement
Tony Burton, deputy chairman of CIC and director at Gardiner & Theobald said the industry needed a shake up and payment methods needed to catch up with how things are built. He said: “We need a seismic cultural shift in practice and behaviour.”

He called for more use of GPS technology, augmented reality and drones for smarter procurement.

2. Digital Communications
More digital content is needed to reach future generations to get the message out there how interesting the construction industry is. In this vein events like Hackathons in construction should be pushed forward to attract new talent and challenge established players to think differently.

3. BIM 
The use of data and BIM will become key for the whole industry, in design and construction. By 2020 annual data production will be 44 times that of 2009. Smart cities and open data will change the way projects are built, said Alistair Kell, director of information and technology at BDP architects.

Data may be used to look at connections between estates. It may also lead to development in other areas such as the use of data in health & safety, wearable technology and wellbeing.

4. Brexit
Former business minister, Lord Digby Jones, believes business will change post-Brexit. The UK is such a huge market that tariffs on trade will not apply but he said he did expect higher administrative costs and delays.

The country as a whole needed to take note of what happened. “There was an entire group of people, amounting to millions who felt left behind, who wanted shake up the government and London-based establishment; if it wasn’t Brexit it would have been something else,” he said.

When it comes to business and international power, we should be focused on Asia he said: “If the Americas ran the 20th century, this is now Asia’s century.”

And Jones said we should continue to welcome immigrants as we’ll always need quality, skilled workers. Brexit had given the construction industry the chance to skill-up and that opportunity should be taken.

5. Skills
Head of construction in the Cabinet Office, Dr David Hancock, said the government was actively trying to upskill in its work in construction, work in a more collaborative manner and across the supply chain. But he acknowledged there was still a huge problem with the sector, as well as a lack of diversity and problems with retaining people in the industry. He mooted the introduction of quotas to boost the number of women.